Worker dies in thermoforming accident
SAYREVILLE, N.J. - An industrial accident has claimed the life of a worker at Sabert Corp.'s Sayreville, N.J., headquarters plant.
Gonzalo Mera, 48, was trying to unjam a thermoforming machine when the machine became energized while his head was inside. He suffered a fatal head injury. The machine was not locked out when Mera tried to unjam it, said Robert Castillo, Sabert's health, safety and environmental manager, in a telephone interview.
``This accident is so difficult to understand given the fact that Gonzalo had undergone extensive safety training, including annual lockout/tagout training, as do all of our manufacturing personnel,'' Castillo said in a prepared statement.
The April 9 incident was ruled an accident, according to Detective Sargent David Lasko of the Sayreville Police Department. Mera died the same evening at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.
Sabert makes food-service products in Sayreville and employs more than 300 there. It also operates plants in Hillview, Ky.; Riverside, Calif.; Nivelles, Belgium; and Zhongshan, China.
The Sayreville plant had gone 260 days without a signficant injury and had received awards from its insurance company for its low incident rate, according to Castillo.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration listed violations in 2006 and 2004, when Sabert was fined $731 and $1,320, respectively, for lockout violations and forklift problems.
OSHA has up to six months to investigate Mera's death.
Crocs to shut down Quebec production
NIWOT, COLO. - Elastomeric footwear producer Crocs Inc. plans to close its Quebec City plant in July and shift production to its site in Mexico to improve the company's cost structure.
Crocs has been expanding and upgrading its manufacturing capabilities in Mexico to include molding, sewing and compounding, Chief Executive Officer Ron Snyder told analysts in an April 15 conference call.
He said Canada remains an important market for the company and it will maintain a sales and marketing group in Quebec City, but he added that it makes sense to consolidate North American production in Mexico, where the firm has manufacturing flexibility.
The Quebec City facility was not fully used and its shutdown will take out US$5 million in annual costs and lead to a US$16 million one-time charge on earnings, Snyder estimated.
The closure will eliminate 670 jobs. Some 262 people already have been laid off.
Niwot-based Crocs forecast lower sales on and earnings for its first quarter, ended March 31, a move that caused its stock to drop 41 percent to $10.54 a share April 15.
Crocs acquired the Quebec City plant, which formerly operated as Foam Creations, in 2004.
Sheffield considers new HQ location
SHEFFIELD, MASS. - Local and state officials are working on plans to keep film and sheet maker Sheffield Plastics Inc. in town, even if the firm needs more space.
``We're making every effort to keep them in the Berkshires,'' said local state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, D-Lenox.
The Berkshire Eagle newspaper, of Pittsfield, Mass., reported that Sheffield President Dennis Duff and company officials will make a decision on the firm's future location later this year. The newspaper said Sheffield is weighing an offer to move to Ohio against what it would it require to stay in Sheffield. The company operates two plants in Sheffield, as well as small plant in Berlin, Conn.
Sheffield Plastics officials did not comment.
The company's parent, Pittsburgh-based Bayer MaterialScience LLC, opened a design center in June near its own compounding plant in Newark, Ohio.
Pignatelli said the high cost of electricity is a concern for manufacturers and that local and state officials are working to come up with incentives to help Sheffield stay in the Berkshires area. He said Sheffield would receive an offer April 18 but noted details would not be made public.
Pignatelli added that the firm's strong workforce would be difficult to match or move.
Sheffield Plastics extrudes polycarbonate sheet, as well as copolyester and PC blends. Its newest product is used in security glazing applications.